Friday, May 29
Charlotte and I took a couple walks, played in her little inflatable pool, and created masterpieces on the driveway using sidewalk chalk. After her afternoon nap, I didn't feel like going outside and she was starting to get a little stir crazy. So, I pulled out the 64 count of crayons I had packed in my newly organized closet. I had a coloring book in there too left over from the babysitting I've done for my nieces.
Charlotte thought crayons were pretty cool.
Thursday, May 28
Today, it provided much entertainment for Charlotte. She sorted through the bin for at least 15 minutes bringing different outfits to me so I could put them on her. It was pretty funny putting 9 month winter clothes on her - she thought it was funny too.
Then, she found her winter coat. She handed it to me, I put it on her, and she said "OWWSI?" This translates to, "Outside?"
So, we went outside in the 80 degree heat with her winter coat on. She wouldn't let me take it off, in fact, she made me zip it up! Finally, 15 min later, after her little curls were wet with sweat, she let me take it off.
Wednesday, May 27
We had a really nice weekend with my parents. Even though the weather wasn't so great, we made the best of the weekend. We made it to the Decatur Arts Festival on Saturday afternoon, had a delicious dinner made by Chef Judd on Saturday night, and hung out all day Sunday. Mom and Dad even kept Charlotte for a couple of hours on Sunday night so Judd and I could go out to dinner. Charlotte was a good girl and performed all of her tricks for her grandparents.
After my parents left on Monday morning, Judd, Charlotte, and I headed over to IKEA. I wanted to organize the closet in our office, and wanted to get a bookshelf and bins. We got there and found out that the bookshelf I wanted was on sale for $49 rather than the normal $89!
Judd and I spent the afternoon putting together the bookshelf and cleaning out the closet. We ended up with 5 trash bags full of junk. Our office closet was the one space in the house that we stored all of the stuff we didn't know what to do with. I was pretty ruthless when it was time to decide whether to keep something or not - if we hadn't really used it in a year, it was trash. I finally finished the project last night. It was well worth the effort - the closet looks so much better. The office also serves as our guestroom - now our guests can actually hang up clothes!
Friday, May 22
Here's Charlotte telling Marshall that he's not allowed back into his chair:
My parents arrive tomorrow for a Memorial Day Weekend visit - hope everyone has a great weekend!
Tuesday, May 19
(Disclaimer: I do not in any way think that I am the authority on photography, I'm not even very good compared to most, but I do think that I've learned a few things over the past year that are helpful to those starting out)
First, the equipment:
Camera: Nikon D90
Lenses: 50 mm 1.8, 18-70 mm f/3.5-4.5, 70-300 mm f/4-5.6
Flash: Speedlight SB-600
My very smart husband purchased the Nikon D70 for us a few years ago. At that point he did tons of research and also purchased the 70-300mm lens and speedlight. The 18-70mm lens is the kit lens that came with the D70. I got the 50 mm 1.8 lens for my birthday last year. It is on the camera 95% of the time. I really love it. Since it is 50mm only, it is called a prime lens. If you want to zoom in or out - you physically have to move to get closer or farther away - this takes some getting used to.
I RARELY use flash. My camera is set to Manual mode 99% of the time and I adjust aperture, shutter speed, or ISO to get the exposure I need. (Most of the time this exposure is not correct - but I try!) One of the main reasons I don't use flash is because I just don't know how - plain and simple. I also don't use it because I really like the effect of natural light photography.
Second, the education:
I have taken two classes from The Showcase School of Photography, Digital 101 & Digital 102. I would like to sign up to take People One this summer to get a better feel for what I should be doing with the portraits I take. The Showcase School is great. They offer affordable classes at great times. At the end of Digital 101, you can set your camera on manual and know how to adjust it to get the type of image that you want without having to think too much. For me, this class really solidified the relationship between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Digital 102 just takes this to the next level.
If you aren't into sitting in a classroom, this book is great: Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson.
Really the best education is to just get out there and practice. That is what is so great about digital - you can shoot, fill up your card, then just delete them all if nothing turned out. I shoot Charlotte at least every other day, and each time I learn something new, or try a new technique. For instance, lately I have been trying to shoot "wide open". Putting my 50mm lens at f/2 or lower. This produces a VERY shallow depth of field - so everything is blurry in the background.
Another great form of education is to google "Photography Forums" and start following a forum. You can learn a lot by seeing other people's work critiqued.
Like I said, I'm in no way an expert. But, I hope this helps some of you that are in the same spot I was last year - I had an awesome camera in my hands, a beautiful subject, but had no idea how to get the images I wanted.
Monday, May 18
Charlotte is quite the imitator lately. She tries to do everything that we do. Today we were playing out in the yard and I threw a ball to Jody. Jody put it in her mouth and carried it around, but ended up putting a tooth in it and deflated it. Once Jody dropped it, Charlotte went over to the ball, bent down, and picked the ball up with her mouth! GROSS! Of course I was cracking up and she looked at me wondering what was so funny. If only I could have my camera attached to my hands at all times.
Thursday, May 14
Wednesday, May 13
(There is so much noise in this picture it borders on distracting, but I just LOVED the expressions on their faces.)
Charlotte has been a Mommy's girl for the past few months. To the point where she won't even let Judd feed her dinner if I'm around. If I'm not around, they have a ball together.
Judd is a fabulous Daddy. He tells Charlotte that he loves her no less than 10 times a day. He comes home from work and completely devotes his time to her until she goes to bed. He likes nothing more than to sit on the floor and play silly games with her. Making her laugh is his number one goal most of the time. That's why it breaks my heart when I'm holding her and she pushes him away as he goes in for a hug and a kiss.
Last night we had channel 976 (Kids Tunes on Dish Network) cranked up. Judd grabbed Charlotte off of the floor and began dancing and jumping around with her. She loved every second of it. So much so, that when Judd put her down and ran upstairs for a minute, she ran right after him saying "DaDa". Of course, he stopped whatever he was going to do upstairs and danced with her again.
I'm hoping that this Mommy's girl obession is a phase that she is soon to grow out of. Don't get me wrong, I love being the one she wants, the one that can calm her down, the one she reaches for - but it can be very tiring. Also, I just want her to experience all of the fun her Daddy can provide. She misses out on all of the fun games and songs he is capable of making up because she is too busy wondering where I am. Maybe dancing with her Daddy last night was a step closer.
Sunday, May 10
We spent the weekend with the Davis clan. We officially welcomed summer with a day on the lake Saturday. There were pools set up on the dock - one for the big girls, and a little one for Charlotte. Then there were jet ski, paddle boat, and pontoon boat rides. Charlotte had her first jet ski ride for a few minutes! Then, she went on a long pontoon boat ride.
We had a nice Mother's Day that included church and a big steak lunch. Here's a picture of the girls taken today.
I wasn't with my mother today, but thought of her often. I'm so lucky to have a mother-in-law that I feel so close to and truly treats me as one of her own. There are times that I get down on myself about the mother I am, but then I think of the wonderful examples I have and know that I can't be bad if I am trying to model after them.
Friday, May 8
Charlotte was 15 months last Friday, but we didn't get to the doctor until today.
Weight: 22 lb 14 oz - 50%
Height: 31.5" - 75-90%
Head: 18.25" - 50-75%
The doctor said everything looks great, even Charlotte's ears had cleared up from her ear infections last week. I was told that she needs to get more Vitamin D. I guess the American Association of Pediatrics has issued a new daily requirement of Vitamin D and it is pretty high. In order to get all of the daily requirement through milk, your child would need to drink 32 oz/day. I know Charlotte isn't getting this, so I need to pick up some vitamins.
I did get scolded a little bit for letting Charlotte still use the pacifier. I just don't think Charlotte, Judd, or I are ready to give that up yet. I think my goal will be to have her off of it by 18 months. Any tips?
Charlotte can now say, "Bye Bye" (while waving), "Hi", "Dog", "Dada", "Mama", "Ball", "Bubble", "That", and "This". She is walking & climbing everywhere. She seems to understand so much of what we say. She is able to follow simple commands. She is starting to understand "No" a lot more, she'll even shake her head and point at something that she's knows she's not supposed to touch. She amazes us each day with something new. She is able to point to her nose, ear, head, foot, and belly button when asked. I have to say that the belly button is by far my favorite. You have to be careful when you ask her, though, because she usually wants to see yours next. I didn't want to show my post-baby stomach at the doctor today, so we didn't show of that trick :)
Monday, May 4
In an effort to cheer us up on Saturday, I bought Judd, Charlotte, and I tickets to the Children's Museum of Atlanta. This place ROCKS! I wanted to take Charlotte a couple of months ago, but thought she'd be too little to really get anything out of it. I think we made a good decision by waiting. Since she can walk now, she could participate in almost every station.
When you walk in, the first thing you see (after you pass the gift shop) is the ball station. Tons of colorful plastic balls everywhere. Charlotte LOVED this. I think she said "Ba" (ball) about a million times. She would have been happy to stay there the entire time, but we took her to the shopping station. She pushed her little cart around and pulled everything off of the shelves. After that we headed over to the water table, then let her play in the toddler area. There was so much to do, that we didn't even make it to the shadow box or the sand station.
I took pictures, but had the little point and shoot that I don't do that well with and they all turned out horrible. The next time we go (because there will be a next time) I'll take the better camera.
I realized this weekend that I haven't been posting as much of the "little" stuff as I would like. This past Saturday, Charlotte wanted something to eat. She went to the cabinet and pointed said "Eh-Eh-EH!" until I came over. She doesn't like to sit and eat, she likes to get little pieces and walk around and eat. I guess there is just too much to do and see.
So, I poured a few Cheerios in a cup for her. I figured they'd be on the ground in a matter of minutes, but it didn't really matter because I knew Jody would follow close behind a food-toting Charlotte. Sure enough, the first few cups of Cheerios ended up on the ground. But, eventually she got the hang of it. She looked so big carrying around her little cup, taking a bite every now and then. Judd and I were on the couch watch TV and she walked up, then patted the couch. I pulled her up and she snuggled next to me and ate some Cheerios while watching TV with us. I just kept thinking, "Wow, she's really a toddler now."
The next day she got some Goldfish in her cup. She walked right over and sat in one of her favorite places.
Sunday, May 3
Friday, May 1
Judd was out of town Monday night. I knew he wasn't going to be home until after Charlotte's bedtime on Tuesday. Since Monday's bedtime didn't go so well, I decided I'd wear her out on Tuesday. So, we headed to the park after dinner. We had a great time. She swung on the swing for a long time. Then, she climbed the playground stairs all by herself, turned around, and went down the slide backwards! (I didn't get a picture of that - I figured it was better to catch her!)
Question for you moms out there regarding park etiquette. Charlotte saw an abandoned ball at the park. She ran right over to it and started playing with it. I let her because no one close to it was claiming it. Is it ok to play with abandoned toys if no one is near it? I know that it probably belongs to a kid that is swinging or in another part of the park - just curious...